4th December 2017. Since 1999 the NCI at St Ives have helped keep safe swimmers, kayakers, kite-surfers, paddleboarders, walkers, and local fishing boats in this vulnerable stretch of the sea across St Ives Bay. In all types of weather, in all sorts of visibility and rough seas, their volunteers are the eyes and ears across this exposed headland, with virtually uninterrupted views from the western approaches to St Ives, beyond Clodgy point, right across Carbis Bay, Hayle Estuary, Gwithian, and as far north as Trevose Head, near Padstow, some 26 miles away. Over fifty fully-trained volunteer watchkeepers, from all walks of life, equipped with telescopes, weather instruments and up-to-date charts, operate the station at St Ives during normal working hours, while an emergency team is on standby 24 hours every day. The volunteers keep a visual watch on the coast by monitoring weather, sea conditions, radio channels, radar and observing coastal marine life, providing this information for mariners, fishermen, walkers and other users of the sea and coast. Although surveillance is usually routine work, volunteers are trained to act in emergencies by coordinating with other search and rescue services. Recently, thanks to generous donations from local businesses, NCI St Ives gained an extra set of eyes to help monitor the coast, in the form of a new £8,000 webcam which provides sweeping overviews and zoomed-in detail at great distances, plus auto-tracking and built-in video analytics. Designed for outdoor conditions in a robust housing, this webcam helps enhance NCI St Ives services.
However, there’s no substitution for watchful eyes, which can spot things that no webcam, radar or other automated system can, such as flares or people waving for attention. The cost of running the St Ives NCI station is met solely by donations. Volunteers are therefore vitally important to help keep our coasts safe and the station open and running effectively.
Do you have time to spare between 7am and dusk? Are you a dedicated person with a sense of responsibility to seafarers, coast-users and the NCI? If so, St Ives NCI would welcome you to their team of volunteers, with full training provided to ensure you reach the high standard expected by the NCI and the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA). To find out more information on volunteering at St Ives NCI, or any other NCI station, please visit www.nci.org.uk or contact Helen Simpson, Station Manager, St Ives. (Article courtesy of the Hayle Pump)